La Ciotat


La Ciotat is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southern France. It is part of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis. La Ciotat is located at about 25 km (15.5 mi) to the east of Marseille, at an equal distance from Marseille and Toulon. Its inhabitants are called “Ciotadens” or “Ciotadennes”.

In the xix th and xx th  centuries, the site is known as a holiday resort. Since then, the city has retained its attraction for summer tourism and offers numerous beaches, numerous diving possibilities , as well as a starting point for visits to the creeks .

RegionProvence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
CantonLa Ciotat
 Mayor (2020–2026)Arlette Salvo
Area131.46 km2 (12.15 sq mi)
Population (Jan. 2017)35,174


Sitting at the end of a crescent bay, the town, leaning against the Bec de l’Aigle, faces the sea. It is dominated by a vast limestone plateau, bordered to the west by high cliffs falling directly onto the sea, which extends to the north by Cap Canaille . The latter, the Soubeyranes cliffs , exceed 390 meters, which places them at the top of the highest in France and among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. 


Large companies 

  • Ball Packaging Europe  : manufacturing of cans
  • Gemalto (formerly Gemplus): smart card manufacturing

The Nautical Pole 

In 1429 , La Ciotat became a town in its own right, separating from the neighboring village of Ceyreste, of which it served as a port. At the xvi th  century, the city took a boom due to the emigration of part of the aristocratic Genoese driven out of Italy by local revolutions.

The city renews its port facilities at the beginning of xxi th  century and became a pole of the high pleasure . In 2006 has started construction of what became the largest lift boats of Europe . This activity which employs 600 people has become the new economic heart of the city. The city also lives on summer tourism and reopened the casino in the early 2000s . La Ciotat has thus become a leading destination for tourists and boaters. The town’s urban planning policy bears witness to this, in particular with the growth of shops and restaurants.


The primary mode of transport into La Ciotat is the train station, which is a ten minutes drive from the city centre. The SNCF train service between Marseille and Toulon stops at La Ciotat, almost every hour during the day except for the mid-day one-hour break.

The Lumiére brothers on the platform of La Ciotat station

Most parts of La Ciotat are covered by its public transport bus service. Although buses are not very frequent, given the small population of the city they serve their purpose. Although taxis are available in La Ciotat, it is rare to hail one from the street and usually they have to be called in. Taxis are also hard to hire before 7am and after 8pm. Most call taxis are operated by individuals and are not registered with a central call service number. The dynamics of public transport change during the summer when La Ciotat is visited by scores of tourists. At that time, more taxis service the area and buses operate more frequently.


The Auguste-et-Louis-Lumière lycée has set up the European section since 2007 , a new linguistic option in which the learning of English is more sustained than in other fields. This results in the addition of another subject, the non-linguistic discipline (DNL), that is, the study of history and geography in the English language. As part of this section, students take a two-week language study trip to the United States ( Chicago , Illinois ) in order to develop their language level with a host family. 

  • Higher Education
    • “Environmental health and safety” department of the IUT of Aix-en-Provence.

Local Culture and Heritage 

Tourist places and monuments 

Tourist places 

  • Calanque of Figuerolles
  • Mugel Park
  • Green Island
  • Soubeyranes cliffs

Secular monuments

  • remains of the old fortifications: forts Bérouard and Saint-Antoine
  • door dating from 1628
  • palace of the Lumière brothers (who shot several films there) and grand salon (Listed as a Historic Monument )
  • houses xvii th , Focaccia streets and Bee
  • former hotel Grimaldi-Régusse (Join the Historical Monuments ) – this hotel was built in the xvii th  century on behalf of shipowners and traders, Grimaldi; 
  • former vestibule, staircase and roof (Listed as a historic monument ), 6 rue Adolphe-Abeille
  • octagonal tower, vestige of the former Ursuline convent  ;
  • former Eden-Concert , oldest cinema in the world (Listed as a Historic Monument )
  • Gare district: site of the filming of one of the first films in the world, The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station , in 1895 by the Lumière brothers
  • ruins of Fort Saint-Pierre on Île Verte (La Ciotat)

Religious monuments 

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Way of the Holy Cross

The oldest of the chapels of La Ciotat, built outside the city, it was by its location one of the first lookouts before the construction of the current semaphore . Property of the White Penitents, it housed for a long time a hermit who played the role of lookout and could emit signals. Sold as national property in 1790, the chapel which included two rooms and a courtyard was transformed into a shed.Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Church (1603), quai Ganteaume

The church was built from 1603 to 1626 by enlarging an old chapel. As the work has not been completed, two spans are missing on the west side. The building, in Romanesque style, is 44 meters in length, 25 meters in width, 22.5 meters in height. The facade degraded by erosion and the interior of the church were restored from 1971 to 1975. A marble statue evoking Notre Dame de Bon Voyage comes from the former Capuchin convent which was located on the site of the La Licorne clinic. The murals were painted in 1972 by the Ciotaden painter Gilbert Ganteaume .

Other religious monuments:

  • Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde chapel (1610), Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde road
  • Salle Saint-Jacques, Chapel of the White Penitents (1618), Place du Théâtre
  • Chapel of the Blue Penitents (1626), esplanade of May 8, 1945
  • Sainte-Anne Chapel, Black Penitents Chapel (1630), Esquiros Square
  • Chapelle des Minimes (1633), place Guibert
  • Saint-Joseph Chapel, Black Penitents Chapel (1698), Esquiros Square
  • Chapel of the Oeuvre-de-Jeunesse (1872), boulevard Michelet
  • Saint-Jean Chapel (1935), avenue Bellon

Cultural heritage 

City of Inventions 

At the end of the xix th  century, industrial Lyon, the Lumière brothers , will play a leading role in the history of cinema with, in 1895 one of the first films ever made, The Arrival of a train station in La Ciotat , followed by a few others that are said to be made in their Ciotadenne villa.

In La Ciotat, there is also the oldest cinema in the world still in existence, L’Eden , opposite the city’s new port. Its rehabilitation via a support committee chaired by Bertrand Tavernier is carried out, the new cinema was inaugurated on October 9, 2013 as well as a Lumière- Michel-Simon museum space.

The Eden cinema.

Cultural events and festivities

One of the most important events is Once Upon a Time in 1720 . This historic festival takes place over three days in the pedestrian zone along the beaches. It commemorates the sad period of the Great Plague of Marseille Provence struck the xviii th  century and courage of Ciotadens Ciotadennes and fighting against the foreigners wanting to take refuge in one of the only cities that avoided the epidemic.

At the end of September, the Algerian community of Mers el-Kébir de La Ciotat pays homage to Saint Michel during a procession dedicated to him.

Sports and recreation 

Water sports and leisure are in the spotlight at La Ciotat. It is possible, for example, to learn kitesurfing in the vocational school established there or to practice aquagym in seawater, take swimming lessons and even do a first flight in paragliding .

  • Sports star La Ciotat , now merged with Cassis-Carnoux.
  • USPTT La Ciotat


Rond point des Messageries Maritimes 13600 La Ciotat